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Organic Farming Pioneer Found Dead

Posted February. 01, 2010 07:53,   


“Our national territory is a sacred place,” the so-called Korean godfather of organic agriculture said on the last day of his fast.

“Even bees are not coming because it’s too cold,” he said on the 61st day.

“Organic agriculture is the only way for survival,” he said on the 51st day.

These are what Kang Dae-in (59, photo) wrote in his 10-page farming dairy. Kang was found dead at the site of a Buddhist temple at a ridge of Mount Palyeong in the township of Namyang-myeon in Goheung County, South Jeolla Province, around noon Saturday.

Kang prayed through fasting for 89 days from Nov. 3 last year. When his wife Jeon Yang-suk, 51, and eldest daughter Kang Seon-ah, 27, found him dead, he was lying on his knees with his head on the ground.

Police say they believe Kang died of hypothermia. His daughter said sobbingly, “My father told us that this 100-day fast would be his last. He asked us never to come, but I went there for a third time due to anxiety.”

Kang began praying through fasting for agriculture, environment and the nation as a 12th grader. He fasted more than 20 times afterwards.

Throughout his life, he strove to put his beliefs into practice. “If agriculture thrives, everybody can live. If the Korean public can enjoy healthy organic rice, this will be peace,” he said.

In 1977, his father died of agriculture chemical poisoning. This prompted Kang to start organic farming in his paddies covering 100,000 square meters using herbal plants, herbal extracts or rice shells instead of agricultural chemicals.

As the first Korean farmer to win a certificate of organic farming in 1995, he developed 300 to 400 breeds of rice and registered patents for more than 100 of them. This earned him the nickname “master of rice.”

He established a Korean farming educational center at the village of Madong in Boseong County, South Jeolla Province, and transferred techniques for growing the “rice of life” and herbal plants to farmers.

More than 1,000 farmers specializing in organic farming paid respects to Kang at the hospital mortuary in Beolgyo-eup, where a memorial altar was set up.

His daughter Seon-ah returned to her hometown to become a farmer after graduating from college, and will continue the family business of organic farming.